So most of Morocco’s holidays are based on the moon cycle. Weird? Maybe. It is something that makes me smile but has little to no effect on my day to day life (being I am unemployed or as some hip young people will say “freelance”). The only thing that changes is that I get to see all of my working friends. I find it an interesting actuality that I know would cause quite a stir in North America. Can you imagine not knowing when labour day was going to come? With so much money being spent on long weekend travelling, especially in Canada where we have one every month, it would cause quite the stir. Although technically speaking it is easy to predict the moon cycle, Islam cultures refuse to use modern science to help identify these dates. So instead of hoping for a snow day I hope for a new moon (not that it actually matters to me anyhow).
I came home on a Wednesday with a pile of papers to mark but was looking forward to having a relaxing night. I figured I’d do the work on the Thursday that I would most likely have off. It hadn’t been officially announced, but everyone assumed the holiday was going to be Thursday, not Friday. It was the Muslim New Year, the 1st Day of Muharram.
At 10 PM we received the email saying that it would actually be Friday that we would have as a holiday. I wasn’t sure if I should be happy that it meant we’d have a long weekend or disappointed that it was 10PM and on a school night that’s pretty much my bed time…
The reason that so many of the expat teachers are still confused by the lunar holidays is because the history of the Muslim world and astronomy. As opposed to Europe, they were making astronomical observations by the early 9th century. So there should be no reason as to why they can’t accurately predict when the new moon will be.
My guess is that it has something to do with globalization and Westernization. As Western cultures continue to infiltrate Muslim cultures various forms of resistance become apparent. Reverting back to an older, simpler time and hanging on to traditions could both be forms of this. That’s the connection I made, but of course I could be wrong.
In the end all that it really meant to me was that I got to spend a long weekend in Casablanca 🙂